My mini 14 experience….


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Mr transformer
January 2, 2012, 12:15 AM
I thought it appropriate to share this little experience.
A mini 14…. I have never owned one, and never thought about buying one.

Up until a few days ago, I had never held a mini 14 in my own hands, or used it, or looked up any information on them. Nether did I have any opinion on ruger products. I had never had any experience with them

A few days ago friend of mine ask me for some help with a mini 14 he had. He bought it new many years ago, but never used it. He generally defaulted to his shotgun when he had to kill pest. So he never really had a need to pull it out and use it. Some coyotes had moved into the area and was killing pets and threatening livestock so he needed something that could reach out and touch something. So he pulled out the mini14 that he had stowed away. It was still in the factory packing. He doesn’t shoot much so he wanted me to take a look at it and make sure everything was still in good condition from the long storage.

I pulled the handle off, and took a look at it’s underbelly. Everything looked clean with no signs of moisture damage. Put the handle back on and it cycles nice. The bore was factory fresh with nice sharp rifling and no rust. I gave the bore a swabbing. He had just bought a new $100+ bushnell scope for it, so I put that on while I was at it.

We took it with a couple 22 rifles and some cardboard to a holler to sight it in and let him get use to the thing. We used federal lake city .223.

I wanted to get it roughly sighted in so I put the target up at 75 feet. I was going to do one shot tests until I got it close then move out to a distance and zero it in with three shot groups, then let him have at it. The target in question was a piece of cardboard about 1 foot tall with a cross in the middle sitting right on the dirt.

This is where things started to get strange.

I took one shot, it hit about 4 inches high and 2 to the right. I did the necessary number of clicks to bring it down 4 inches and left 2.
I fired again. It was right on the vertical line but 3 inches low. I cranked it back up about half the number of clicks that I had just cranked it down.
I fired again. It hit 1 inch below where I had just hit (4 inches down.) and one inch to the left. At that point, I was starting to double check my memory to make sure I was cranking it the right way……. So I cranked it up another couple inches….
I fired again, and it just barely clipped the top of the paper. About 6 inches high.

I may be a slow learner but it was finally starting to sink in that something wasn’t right in Denmark. :uhoh:

I double checked the scope mounts and anything else that may have been loose. Found no problems. So I made a three shot group at 75 feet just to see what would happen. First one hit the top edge of the paper. Second one hit right close to dead center. Third one hit the dirt right at the base of the target. I was utterly dumbfounded. It was a true *** moment.

The only conclusion that my mind could come to was…. The new scope is busted. :cuss:

So.. I took the scope off and send a half dozen round downrange with the iron sights….. for a reality check.

My reality check bounced….. :eek: The first was high. Second hit low Third was high, forth and fifth hit the ground below the target. Sixth didn’t hit a damn thing. I checked the barrel to see if it was a squib, but the barrel was clear. At that point, I was wondering if I was drunk, but it dawned on me that I have never drank alcohol or taken drugs in my life, so that couldn’t be it. I pulled out the marlin 60 and proceeded to make a ragged hole at in the 75 foot target and then went open sights to mow down a line of pop cans at 200 feet, so I knew that it wasn’t me. He tried shooting it himself with the same results.

Went to town and got some Remington ammo and tried it again with same results.

Took the gun completely apart and everything looked good. Put it together with everything nice and tight and it did the exact same thing.

After searching the web, I got the idea that it was a pretty inaccurate gun, but my mind had a hard time coming to grips with what I seen with my own two eyes. I have never seen a rifle shoot that badly in my life. (Unless someone took a hammer to the barrel)

After a little more shooting, we found out that it’s “pattern” is about 5 feet in diameter at 100 yards. With the center of the “pattern” shifting depending on how fast you fired the rifle. (barrel heat)

After doing a little more research, he came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to buy a good used semi auto 223 and put the ruger in closet than try to get it to shoot good. It is just not worth messing with. He is just going to keep it in the house when he needs to shoot something point blank, because that is all it’s good for.

Now I understand the statement “couldn’t hit a barn door from inside the barn”

A rifle like that should have never gotten out of the prototype stage.. :banghead:

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Cal-gun Fan
January 2, 2012, 12:18 AM
Did you contact Ruger?

Mr transformer
January 2, 2012, 12:32 AM
If he knew that he would get back a rifle that shot sub +/- 1 inch at 100 yards, he would have.

But… by looking at other peoples experiences he knows that if he does the customer service dance, the best he is looking at is a rifle that will do +/- 5 in without heavy aftermarket outfitting, then it’s kind of pointless. It would come back more accurate than it is now, but still not accurate enough to be useful at it’s intended application.

So he isn’t even going to start down that road.

Sometimes it’s best to quit while you are ahead.

firesky101
January 2, 2012, 12:50 AM
ummm that bad of accuracy is a big problem with that specific rifle not the model. I just tried a mini 14 I was thinking about trading for, it was from 1991 and was no tack driver, but I was putting down consistent 3.5 MOA ten shot groups.

TexasPatriot.308
January 2, 2012, 12:52 AM
my series 581 shoots 1 1/2" groups. most are not tack drivers, the newer ones are better and they are all fun to shoot.

jojo200517
January 2, 2012, 12:59 AM
5 foot diameter pattern at 100 yards?:what: He can do that bad with some high end buckshot. Might be time to trade that thing on an AK. Even the worst internet rumored, canted sites, worn out assembled by blind monkey ones will shoot slightly better than 5 feet at 100 yards.


In all seriousness was it really that bad? I just can't fathom accuracy being that horrid in anything that isn't physically damaged. 3 shots shouldn't be enough to really warm the barrel up any.

RaceM
January 2, 2012, 01:00 AM
Bad rifle. Neither of mine are tack drivers, but they'll do 10" groups at 100 yards with irons.

Mr transformer
January 2, 2012, 01:05 AM
He said that later on down the road , he may cut the end off the barrel (where the front sight is) because people have said they have had luck improving the accuracy with that. That is because ruger swaged the front sight on which crushed the bore at the very end.
If that doesn’t work, he will probably get an aftermarket barrel. But that is the limit he said he is going to mess with it.

He is not a gun person. He just has guns to do what he needs done. He doesn’t want to wait weeks for it to be shipped from here to tim buck two. All the while, the coyotes are killing his animals. If this unit is going to be a problem child, then he is the type of person that would rather be rid of it. And get something he can depend on from the box.

It’s his stuff, and it’s his business. I am just relating my experience. I am not going to tell him he has to deal with a company that he already has a dim view of.

I don’t know if he has already got another rifle but I will probably know in a few days.

Mr transformer
January 2, 2012, 01:11 AM
In all seriousness was it really that bad? I just can't fathom accuracy being that horrid in anything that isn't physically damaged. 3 shots shouldn't be enough to really warm the barrel up any.
Yes, that is why assumed the new scope was busted until I tried open sights.

I checked for a bent barrel, or other signs of impact.

MistWolf
January 2, 2012, 08:47 AM
A target to help identify what a shooter is doing wrong
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/20j1bt3.png

Nicky Santoro
January 2, 2012, 09:11 AM
OP,
Your friend needs to have someone else try it out. The biggest problem with accuracy is shooter error. Just saying.

blume357@bellsouth.net
January 2, 2012, 09:23 AM
Hard one to call ... I suspect the problem is not one specific thing but a number of issues.... the bottom line is he for sure doesn't want to use that on varments... unless he wants to give them a serious advantage.

I think if he wanted to do anything... I'd change out the barrel.... I would not do the receiver beading .... but the barrel and maybe the trigger at the same time.

Double Vision
January 2, 2012, 09:31 AM
My newer Mini-14 is a very good rifle and I've shot some decent groups with iron sights.
And I'm not a very good shooter.

wingman
January 2, 2012, 09:47 AM
$100 Bushnell problem 1,operator error problem 2, while the mini14 was never a tack driver something seriously wrong with this story, not sure what "pulling' the handle off means but expect stock was removed, possible problem 3.
Certainly a bad rifle can be purchased of any brand/model but stories like this tell me there is more to the story.

Skyshot
January 2, 2012, 09:54 AM
I'm no mini-14 expert, but I have owned several and currently have a 581 series tac carbine that shoots about 1 1/2 moa @ 100 yards. The problem you are talking about to me sounds like the gas block is not in alingment. You might want to try to re-aline and retorque the block and see what it does. You can find a lot of info a the Perfectunion website for mini-14's

mtrmn
January 2, 2012, 09:59 AM
Mistwolf-It took me a minute for it to dawn on me, but that target is some funny @*&^.

On another forum somebody wrote this classic statement about mini's:
"I have a Mini14 I bought new in 1985 with the factory folding stock. It will go bang as well as any gun I own. Very reliable. For accuracy testing I take a Hula-Hoop and place it about 30 feet to my right on the ground. Then I shoot a ten shot group to 100 yards. Take the freshly fired upon target and compare it to the group of expelled brass in the Hula-Hoop. The brass generally wins. But it is fun to shoot!"


Mr Transformer-- You could not sight mine in either--you patterned it like a shotgun at 50 yds and adjusted the optic/sights to the center of the pattern and called it good. I loved the gun, it was a lot of fun to shoot and seriously it was "accurate enough" for CQB within 50 yds or so but that was it's limit. I tried to make it better by working up a load for it--off and on for over 20 years. Best I EVER got was about 1 1/4-1 1/2" at 50 yds. And that was not repeatable.
:cuss::banghead:


All that said, where in the country are you located? If your friend wanted to maybe recover some of his money to go towards a good AR15 (read: accurate out of the box) I might be willing to take it off his hands and it would be somebody else's problem. My mini met it's demise recently and although I never could make it live up to my accuracy standards, I find myself missing it for some reason. Glutton for punishment maybe?:confused:

Hangingrock
January 2, 2012, 10:17 AM
A 60"Ø cone of fire at 100yds, I’ll simply refrain from further comment as it would not be productive.

35 Whelen
January 2, 2012, 10:59 AM
I own a 580 Series Mini and have had accuracy frustrations with it. I fired it with open sights and a scope. Most times, it would just keep all the shots on the 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper on which my targets are printed with a scope or the irons @ 100.

I tried PPU 55 gr., Federal American Eagle 55 gr. and PMC 62 gr. X-Tac with the PMC being the worst. I bedded it, but this didn't help. I finally tried a few handloads and it actually shoots them pretty decent....well, at least they're easier to keep on the paper. Specifically, 63 gr. Sierras are the best. But, you buddy doesn't handload.

35W

greenlion
January 2, 2012, 11:05 AM
No offense, but if you think taking one shot out of a cold bore (and a gun you have never fired before) and immediately zeroing for where that hit, then taking another shot out of a warm bore and resighting to match your second shot is the way to zero a scope, then you need to let someone who knows more about rifles shoot his gun before you write it off as defective. I've had inaccurate rifles before, but it takes a lot more experimenting with my technique, bullet weight, and scope/sights before I pronounce it useless.

35 Whelen
January 2, 2012, 11:12 AM
No offense, but if you think taking one shot out of a cold bore (and a gun you have never fired before) and immediately zeroing for where that hit, then taking another shot out of a warm bore and resighting to match your second shot is the way to zero a scope, then you need to let someone who knows more about rifles shoot his gun before you write it off as defective. I've had inaccurate rifles before, but it takes a lot more experimenting with my technique, bullet weight, and scope/sights before I pronounce it useless.


You are absolutely correct in your statement. When I read " I took one shot, it hit about 4 inches high and 2 to the right. I did the necessary number of clicks to bring it down 4 inches and left 2..." I thought what you thought. When sighting in a rifle with a scope, it's always best to shoot a group, three shots or so, then adjust the scope based on the location of the center of the group.

BUT after reading on I realized this had far less to do with technique than it did with the rifle, and I say that from experience.

35W

mtrmn
January 2, 2012, 11:39 AM
From my earlier post: "I tried to make it better by working up a load for it--off and on for over 20 years. Best I EVER got was about 1 1/4-1 1/2" at 50 yds. And that was not repeatable."

The old-model mini will NEVER be the mid-level predator/varmint gun the OP is looking for without a complete re-barrel/rebuild. The money he spends doing this would be much better spent on a good AR15 which will do at least 1.5MOA straight out of the box. Even a bottom-dweller AR15 AR will shoot very well with the right ammo. I don't think there is a right ammo for those older mini's.

Mine was a 183-series bought in/around 1981. The OP's description suggests the subject gun was bought sometime back in the day, so I assume it is in the same general time period.

Aside from the accuracy issue, parts availability and the unwillingness of the manufacturer to repair mine is what brought about the untimely demise of my mini. I can get AR parts at my local pawn shop if I need to bad enough--ALL parts. Try to find a mini14 bolt, and THEN try to find somebody to properly fit and headspace it. But I digress and will stop now before it escalates into a full-blown rant situation.

MachIVshooter
January 2, 2012, 12:19 PM
Does it have a mini-30 barrel on it???

Mini's aren't known for accuracy, but that's absurd. Mine was about 3 MOA, came down to < 2 MOA after cutting the barrel to 14.6" and welding a flash hider to make it title I legal. I use it for coyotes out to 200 at night:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/101_1130.jpg

dprice3844444
January 2, 2012, 12:34 PM
http://www.accuracysystemsinc.com/index.php

brownells also has a replacement barrel

husker
January 2, 2012, 12:43 PM
Shorten the barrel or get a strut for it.. Have the cryogenic freezing process done to the barrel. For the price of a mag you can have it done

K1500
January 2, 2012, 01:09 PM
1. A mini will absolutely wreck a cheap scope in short order. A $100 bushnell is a cheap scope.
2. Shoot 5 shot groups very slowly with the mini. Chasing one shot like you would do for an initial zero is a fools errand with a mini. You may have to do math to find the center of your 5 shot 'group'.
3. Welcome to the frustrating world of the mini. They are fun, and the new ones are supposed to be more accurate than the old ones.

Adding a brake or flash hider on the end seems to help accuracy some.

nathan
January 2, 2012, 01:57 PM
Sell the Mini 14 and get a real Russian SKS. Aimsurplus sells the Yugo surplus FMJs , they are corrosive but very accurate rounds.

Mr transformer
January 2, 2012, 02:36 PM
No offense, but if you think taking one shot out of a cold bore (and a gun you have never fired before) and immediately zeroing for where that hit, then taking another shot out of a warm bore and resighting to match your second shot is the way to zero a scope, then you need to let someone who knows more about rifles shoot his gun before you write it off as defective.

If you look at my first post.

I was going to do one shot tests until I got it close then move out to a distance and zero it in with three shot groups, then let him have at it.

At close range, I considered it pointless to do three shot groups because all the other rifles I own will make an overlapping hole. Once you get the adjustment to the point that you are close to center, then take a three shot group at a 100 yards where the pattern can spread out a bit.

That method has worked with everything else I have dealt with. 30-06 is about a dollar a shell and I can’t afford to blow off ammunition for the fun of it. That is what the 22 is for. 223 ammo is a bit cheaper but I still try to avoid expending it unless it’s needed.


And, in case people are wondering. It’s the older version with the thin barrel, and the single vertical fin on the front sight.

420Stainless
January 2, 2012, 02:48 PM
That sucks. About the only thing I could think of that could cause that kind of inaccuracy would be a severe defect at the end of the barrel or a very wide variation in the ammo.

I love my 6.8SPC mini.

Waywatcher
January 2, 2012, 02:58 PM
Don't worry about handloading for it; I tried it when I owned one.

Every firing would have an approximate 50% attrition rate for brass. Either for flying into the next county or for getting giant, humungous dents in the shoulder/case mouth area. (Often more than half closing the case mouth.)

LoonWulf
January 2, 2012, 06:17 PM
Im sorry to hear youre another person with an inaccurate mini :( cant say that its a rare occurrence. I hope your friend has the time/patience to deal with it, or the awareness to move onto another rifle. The thing about the mini, is its generally not an out of the box accurate rifle. If your looking for something your going to go pdog hunting with strait out, then it isnt a good choice. If your willing to put time and energy into it, its a very good project gun, much more rewarding then just bolting on parts.


My own mini (newer 581) shoots well, and there are a few things that can be done to improve the accuracy of any mini. Bedding the action helps, as well as shortening the barrel and/or adding a strut. A trigger job is actually pretty easy to to on the mini, but takes care and patience to do right. Cryo treatment has its proponents but ive had a hard time believing in it myself (well see as the only gun ive seen it done on was garbage going in, garbage coming out). A muzzel weight (brake, flash hider, or boss system etc.) has been known to cause a serious improvement of the mini for some odd reason, again ive never heard a definitive answer as to why. Other bits that make living with a mini more enjoyable are either an adjustable gas block, or a set of ASI gas tubs, Im running a .040 on my mini and its now tossing brass in a 45* arc at 10ft or so. A buffer will help as well, keeps your scopes from dying an untimely death, and your action from getting beat too badly. Handloading has given me little real advantage in my own mini (unless i load out very long to touch riffling, then this gun will shoot right with my bolts), but in a friends rifle 70grn speer ssp over 4895 gave very very good results, this is a load im going to try next in my rifle.
If your interested in what ive done to mine i can tell you, and give you accuracy figures, but minis it seems are more individualistic then most rifles, so i dont think the info would really be of any benefit.


If your interested take a look at the perfectunion forums, pretty much everything to that ive found out (actual information, rather then people just upset because they got something they didnt want) about minis has come from there.

On a note, i just reread the original post and figgured out HOW inaccurate the rifle is being. It does sound like a odd problem, and i WOULD contact Ruger.

mtrmn
January 2, 2012, 06:28 PM
Transformer-check your PMs

nathan
January 2, 2012, 07:20 PM
The new ones are said to be good to go out of the box.

Double Vision
January 2, 2012, 07:37 PM
I must be really lucky. My Mini shoots very nicely.
These were at 50 yards. I find it pretty acceptable :cool:

In the 2nd target, the 5 shots outside the red were taken by my wife. She needs some practice. :neener:

Art Eatman
January 2, 2012, 07:58 PM
Just off the cuff, the OP's story sounds like a Mini that's pretty much a unique lemon. Somehow or another...

I've had four of the early, skinny-barrelled models. Two blued; two stainless. I never did worse for the first three shots than two MOA with a Weaver K4 on top. I never kept a count of the shooting, but I know I used up some three thousand rounds among the four rifles.

mshootnit
January 2, 2012, 08:04 PM
when was with the .gov our LE guys were issued minis and kept a log book of all groups shot with different ammo. They were all about 1.5" at 50 yards. That would be about 3" at 100 yards. Scopes were leupold 4X. That old mini had a problem if it's shooting that bad. I would have a gunsmith check it out.

USMC8541
January 2, 2012, 09:13 PM
My experience with the mini-14 is the same, I got rid of it because it wouldn't group better than 4" at 50 yards with handloads. Same with a m77. No more rugers for me

ZX10Aviator
January 2, 2012, 09:34 PM
Ok, I have an older mini 14, it used to shoot 3"+ groups, until I spent some time with it and accurized it on the cheap. Here is its last 100yard group!

LEFT TARGET is the mini14 at 100yds

http://johnvh.smugmug.com/photos/i-XHHwkmj/0/L/i-XHHwkmj-L.jpg

here is what you do, cheaper than dirt, get two of these barrel clamps, get a piece of aluminum rod and bolt all that onto the step in the barrel, and put a flash hider on it. I also put a smaller bushing for the gas as I used to chuck the brass 20' at least.. This brought me from 3"+ groups to 1/2"-1" at 100yds.

http://johnvh.smugmug.com/photos/487647118_9TBLw-L.jpg

Whacked
January 3, 2012, 02:45 AM
the OP's story sounds like a Mini that's pretty much a unique lemon

I second that.

It wasnt until I became more involved with the 2A and joined this site that I started hearing about the issues with the mini.
I've stated before in other mini threads that my early mini had no such issues.
Plus what I learned about the internet "reviews" since Al Gore invented it, satisfied customers tend to be quiet

everything, no matter what it is will have lemons. Many times the company will rectify that but the bad "reviews" live on until they become "facts". I have personal experience with one such issue (not gun related) where the "facts" is nothing more than a couple bad incidents were completely blown out of proportion and people, with zero personal experience add their $0.2 claiming it as gospel truth. see where I'm leading to? That still irks me so i'll get off my soapbox.

My new years resolution is to buy a semi 223 this year. since I live in the "wonderful and safe" state of california, my options are limited.

Take a guess what I'll be buying

MistWolf
January 3, 2012, 07:58 AM
Mini-14s have had a rep for poor accuracy since they first came out- long before Al Gore gave us the errornet

Art Eatman
January 3, 2012, 12:14 PM
MistWolf, "accuracy" can be different things for different people. Since my Minis always put the first shot where I wanted, I figure that means they were quite adequate for accuracy for my use in hunting.

A fairly rapid five-shot group on paper at some three or four MOA is certainly not adequate for accuracy as a target rifle.

In the FWIW department, I found that a flash-hider on my fourth and final Mini settled it down a bit. A couple of five-shot groups in testing were about two MOA, which was around the previous three-shot limit. Didn't affect the first-shot reliability, though, so it didn't really matter...

jem375
January 3, 2012, 12:17 PM
I have a 180 series mini-14 with a stabilizer and muzzle brake that I had put on, with a Nikon M-223 scope and it shoots just fine. Not as good as my AR's but it will make a very good shtf rifle...

Mr transformer
January 3, 2012, 03:33 PM
As of now… it’s NHP (Not His problem)

He showed up earlier yesterday to get his gun and said he would tell me what’s going on a little bit later next day. He had a few details but they were sketchy.

Stopped by later today and he told me he had ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone had a good rifle to sell. He told one of the neighbors he talked to that he had a mini that had accuracy problems and was looking for a better long range rifle on the cheap. The person had him come over and test out a lightly used weatherby vanguard in 270. It was a bolt action instead of a semi, but it had the accuracy he wanted. It has an old low end lupold scope. The person told him that he would do a straight trade for the mini if the mini was in good enough condition. He just wanted the mini for the sake of having it. He was going to do the full aftermarket outfit, so the messed up factory barrel was no concern to him. If he bought a new mini, it would cost him the same as the weatherby and old scope would cost if he bought them new today, so they considered it an even trade.


He gave the person the scope rings that go with the ruger, but he kept the Bushnell scope the person didn’t really want it. (Now if I can just talk him out of it…. I kind of liked the scope myself…:D)

The things he complimented about the weatherby was that with the full length barrel, it had a lot less muzzle blast than the mini 14, and it was a lot more pleasant to shoot. Your field of view was not obliterated with muzzle flash every time you pulled the trigger. You could actually see your target get hit. That may also be a result of the ammo he was using during the test, but he will have to try a few more brands to see what type he wants to settle on.

He only paid around $370 for the mini back many years ago, so he thinks he made a hell of a deal. And he has already gotten pretty good at taking out 2 liter bottles at a 1000 feet while shooting from a rest, so he is a happy camper.

The 270 ammo is a more expensive than the 223, but he considers it worth it if he can hit what he is aiming at.

Now if it was just warm enough outside to enjoy shooting right now. Some of the 2 liter bottles were showing signs of freezing by the time we got around to shooting them. I didn’t know what was going to freeze solid first. Us or the bottles of water!!

I guess all is well that end well….

LoonWulf
January 3, 2012, 03:57 PM
Well as long as everybody turned out happy then thats a good "Fix" for the problem :D

Art Eatman
January 3, 2012, 06:19 PM
Whatever works! :D

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